how-2022-jeep-wagoneer-compares-to-escalade,-navigator,-gls,-and-others

We compare the Jeep Wagoneer with the full-size SUV competition.Models such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, Lincoln Navigator, and Cadillac Escalade are in its crosshairs.The Jeep lineup includes the standard Wagoneer and the more luxurious Grand Wagoneer.Jeep’s 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are two flavors of the same vehicle, but their pricing and specs make them more like two separate model lineups. In GM terms, they’re the equivalent of the GMC Yukon Denali and the Cadillac Escalade. In the Ford universe, one of these is a fancy Expedition and the other a Navigator. But for Jeep, Wagoneer is destined to become its own sub-brand, so the more Wagoneers the better. Thus, regular flavor and Grand.

The most basic Wagoneer, a 4×4 Series I (interesting how they cribbed Land Rover’s old naming strategy there) costs $59,995, but there’s a catch: You can’t get one. At least, not yet. For now, the realistic low end of the lineup is the $69,995 Wagoneer Series II, which at that price still doesn’t include four-wheel drive. You want a 4×4, you’re talking $72,995 and the price goes up from there—up to $105,995 for a Grand Wagoneer Series III, with the transition from Wagoneer to Grand Wagoneer happening in the upper $80,000 range. So you can see that the aspirations here are toward the high end. And the Wagoneer, in either form, looks like it has the goods to hang with that crowd.

Jeep

The base engine is a 5.7-liter V-8 with the eTorque electric starter-generator, making 392 horsepower and 404 pound-feet of torque. The Grand Wagoneer gets a 6.4-liter V-8 with 471 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. Both are paired with the ZF eight-speed automatic. Neither engine is particularly novel in the context of upper-echelon SUVs, where turbo V-6s, turbo V-8s, and diesels are the coin of the realm, but they do make good power. And a pushrod V-8 soundtrack will certainly fire the wood-paneled Wagoneer nostalgia. But the $100,000 price point brings sophisticated competition like the Mercedes-Benz GLS580 and its 483-hp twin-turbo V-8, and the Land Rover Defender 110, which packs a supercharged 518-hp V-8.

At its lower price points, the Wagoneer powertrain is more competitive: the base engine makes a little less horsepower than the V-8 in an Infiniti QX80, while the 6.4-liter makes a little more horsepower than the twin-turbo V-6 in the Lincoln Navigator. Fuel economy hasn’t been announced, but we can’t imagine it’ll beat many too many competitors there, given the combination of an estimated three-ton-plus curb weight, big naturally aspirated V-8s, and full-time four-wheel-drive in 4×4 models.

One place where the Wagoneer powertrain definitely excels is towing: Wagoneers with the 5.7-liter can tow 10,000 pounds, with the 6.4 earning a very slightly lower rating (9860 pounds, thus keeping a lid on gross combined vehicle weight in the heavier 6.4-liter models). Either Wagoneer tow rating beats the Cadillac Escalade (8200-pound max), the QX80 (8500 pounds) and even the Ford Expedition with the heavy-duty trailer towing package (9300 pounds). The Wagoneer will be a happy beast of burden.

It should also be a beast off-road, particularly in Wagoneer Series III Off-Road trim. That iteration gets all-terrain tires, a two-speed transfer case with low range, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, height-adjustable air suspension (which delivers 10.0 inches of ground clearance), and a full suite of skid plates. That model is $88,665, meaning that it’s significantly more expensive than the $66,095 GMC Yukon AT4—which offers similar equipment—but right about on par with a well-optioned Land Rover Defender 110 X. We smell a comparison test.

So, how big is this new Jeep? It can be hard to judge a vehicle’s size from photos alone, so let’s frame the Wagoneer in terms of known quantities. With a 123-inch wheelbase and 214.7-inch overall length, the Wagoneer is a little bit longer than an Escalade (120.9 inches vs. 211 inches) but much shorter than the 226.9-inch Escalade ESV. Compared to what we might deem a tidy three-row, the Benz GLS, the Wagoneer is massive: cargo volume for the GLS behind the front seats is 84.7 cubic feet, compared to the Wagoneer’s 116.7 cubic feet. Which is also a few cubes more than you can squeeze into an Escalade. Generally speaking, “a little bigger than an Escalade” is an apt descriptor of the giganto-Jeep. While the Range Rover might entice some Grand Wagoneer buyers (and vice versa), the Jeep’s old foil from the 1980s is, in contemporary form, a much smaller machine.

Jeep

Since we haven’t yet driven the Wagoneer, we can’t comment on how it rides or sounds or handles a two-foot-deep mud wallow, but we can point out a few creative features that help distinguish it in a crowded market. For instance, the Grand Wagoneer’s 10.3-inch passenger-side “co-pilot” screen is very cool and will surely soon be copied. Its range-topping McIntosh sound system includes 23 speakers, a 1375-watt amp and a 12-inch subwoofer—and, importantly for audio snobs, the cool blue McIntosh analog needle display. And the dealer experience promises to make owners feel properly sucked-up-to, even after the deal is done: Wagoneer Client Services includes five years of maintenance and 24/7 concierge support. And you won’t buy a Wagoneer from a Jeep salesperson—you’ll deal with a Certified Wagoneer Ambassador who has completed more than 90 hours of training. Since that training no doubt includes learning about the Wagoneer’s history, you might also call these people AMC Ambassadors.

From what we know so far, the Wagoneer looks like a big lavish brute, with its sights set primarily on the Escalade and Navigator but also ready to take a swing at Range Rover, Benz, and BMW on the high end and Chevy, GMC, and Ford on the lower end. On paper, it looks primed to become an instant favorite. The full-size SUV competitors have enjoyed a Wagoneer-free market since 1991. That’s about to change.

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